It was noon on Sunday. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina were busy sampling seafood,most of the team were sitting back in their hotel rooms watching the thrilling Australia-New Zealand match on TV,but Yuvraj Singh,Gary Kirsten and manager Prakash Dixit were busy preparing for a disciplinary hearing.
Match referee Chris Broad had summoned Yuvraj after the umpires reported a Level 1 offence,amounting to showing dissent,against the Indian batsman. Yuvraj had allegedly expressed his disappointed for being adjudged lbw despite getting a nick.
Strange are the ways of the ICC. If the batsman broods over a decision,he gets a fine; if he utters a word or shows his dissatisfaction,he gets a ban. But what happens to the umpires when they make mistakes? Nothing immediately,and very little over a period of time. The match referee prepares his report in consultation with the skippers of the two teams,and an ICC committee monitoring the match records mistakes and marks the umpire accordingly for future references. But the erring umpire in this case,Gamini Silva,will even escape that small scrutiny because the ICC rules ask for a local appointment,whom they don’t have to evaluate,in one-day matches.
If the ICC insists on delivering instant justice to the players,shouldn’t some rule also apply to umpires? Or does the ICC feel that while umpiring blunders,which have a far greater effect on the result of a match,are pardonable but the slightest show of emotion from the players should be penalised?
After a 40-minute hearing,Yuvraj walked out with a smile. The normally strict referee Broad had given India a rare leeway,letting him off with a warning. But only because the evidence wasn’t conclusive,as Broad said in his verdict,on whether Yuvraj had shown his displeasure or outright dissent. That it was the umpire’s mistake which had sparked off a reaction did matter at all.
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